Barnwell: Has Zeke peaked? History says yes … plus 10 more NFL stars’ trends

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Updated: August 14, 2017

7:20 AM ET

The peak of a player’s career can come at any time. We naturally assume players will post their best numbers in their late 20s, and while that is the case for most players, it’s hardly the case for everyone. Wide receiver Anquan Boldin‘s most productive seasons were his first and third years in the league, and he’s still plugging away with the Buffalo Bills as he enters his 15th season. “Peaking,” in other words, doesn’t necessarily mean a player will have a disappointing career from that point forward.

In advance of 2017, though, I thought it might be interesting to look at some notable players from around the league and try to gain a sense of whether we’ve already seen their most impressive seasons. This isn’t to suggest that any of them are washed up or that they aren’t at their best; in the cases where history suggested players have peaked, most of the time we’re arguing that the context in which that player topped out will be difficult to reproduce.

I’ll mention one or more key statistics for each player and project whether they’ll top that number again, either in 2017 or later in their career.

Let’s start with the most legendary active player in the league.